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Solidarity Is the Political Version of Love
Lessons from Jewish Anti-Zionist Organizing

What does the politics of solidarity look like in practice, and how can left-wing organizations grow—in numbers and power—while remaining accountable to the broader movements of which they are a part?

Against enormous odds and in the face of fierce pushback, the Palestine solidarity movement has succeeded in transforming the landscape of American politics. The movement has catapulted Palestine from being an untouchable topic in even liberal political circles to a central rallying cry in grassroots progressive organizing, one that is championed by some of the highest profile and beloved members of Congress.

In the fall and winter of 2023, with the attention of the world focused on Israel’s unprecedented aggression against the people of Gaza, millions across the globe mobilized in solidarity with Palestinians and their struggle for liberation. Jewish progressives in the US played a highly visible role in denouncing Israel’s actions and US complicity in them: leading mobilizations and disruptions from the US Capitol to Grand Central Station.

In this book, two key leaders and former staff of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) —Rebecca Vilkomerson and Rabbi Alissa Wise—focus on the important role of anti-Zionist Jewish organizing within the broader Palestine solidarity movement, reflecting on their decade of leadership of JVP and drawing lessons especially relevant to those organizing from a position of solidarity.

Against the backdrop of rapid and often devastating political developments, they explore how JVP grew larger as the organization shifted to the left and helped to alter the public narrative about Palestinian liberation, while also navigating the tensions of organization-building and creating a space for Judaism liberated from Zionism. Their insights help contextualize the intense suppression of activism for Palestinian freedom, while illuminating the roots of today’s flourishing Jewish solidarity with Palestinians worldwide.

In addressing their shortcomings and failures no less than their inspiring successes, Vilkomerson and Wise deliver an account of JVP’s organizing during the 2010s that offers crucial strategic lessons for anyone engaging in the collective work of building organizations and fighting for justice as our movements evolve over time.

Reviews
  • "It is very rare to have access to the internal dynamics of any political movement, more so when it is rife with internal fissures and external pressures that threaten to unravel it daily. Solidarity is the Political Version of Love provides that for us with biting nuance and tender self-reflection in regards to the transformation of Jewish Voice for Peace from a local anti-occupation Jewish organization into an international anti-Zionist Jewish organization leading a revival of Jewish leftist traditions. Situating themselves both within and adjacent to the organization, Rebecca Vilkomerson and Rabbi Alissa Wise have offered an enduring historical document for generations of anti-Zionist Jewish organizers to come." —Noura Erakat

    "Solidarity is the Political Version of Love is timely, not only because Jewish Voice for Peace is the leading force resisting Israel’s current genocidal war on Palestinians, but because it is a success story.  And today, as we confront the threat of fascism and political despair, movements need success stories.  Veteran organizers Rebecca Vilkomerson and Rabbi Alissa Wise guide us through two decades of JVP’s history, revisiting mistakes, drawing lessons, and revealing the secrets to the movement’s sustained growth, coherence, longevity, and radical vision.  Beautiful, inspiring, insightful . . .  this book is for every organizer and anyone willing to fight for a world grounded in the principles of peace, justice, decolonization, and love." —Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination


    "Two of the most effective solidarity workers in American politics offer a tough-love, how-to-get-it-done gift to those ready to confront oppressive power while building deep relationships with our political partners. Focused, realistic, and above all impactful. A book of practical and emotional insights that are so, so helpful." —Sarah Schulman

    “A complex, beautiful, challenging picture of a decade in building a quintessentially
    Jewish movement that through thought, principles, and consistent strategic practice engages in effective, meaningful solidarity with Palestinians in our liberation struggle.” —Omar Barghouti, from the foreword


    “JVP has done some of the most difficult and morally courageous organizing I have seen, standing in unwavering solidarity with the Palestinian liberation struggle at one of the most difficult times in its history, while simultaneously deepening the tradition of Jewish left internationalism. Two amazing women have been key to JVP’s evolution as a galvanizing political force for justice, Alissa Wise and Rebecca Vilkomerson. Fierce, formidable and deeply compassionate, their insights offer inspiration and clarity in a moment where grief and uncertainty abound. This book is so necessary and these authors are the only ones who could have written it. I am in awe of them both as movement visionaries and unrelenting organizers.” —Barbara Ransby, historian, activist and author of Making All Black Lives Matter

    "
    Solidarity is the Political Version of Love is a unique and beautiful book. Masterfully mixing memoir, organizational history, political criticism, Vilkomerson and Wise have crafted a text that affirms their lifelong commitment to revolutionary love, radical action, earnest self-critique,  and unrelenting hope. Although rooted in their own personal and professional experiences as leaders within Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), this project provides powerful and necessary insights for anyone invested in the struggle for justice." —Marc Lamont Hill - coauthor of Except for Palestine: The Limits of Progressive Politics

    “The movement for Palestinian freedom that is upending American politics did not arise from nowhere. It stems from many years of difficult work, including by American Jews like Rebecca Vilkomerson and Rabbi Alissa Wise. You don’t need to agree with them on everything to be inspired by their commitment to Palestinian and Jewish liberation. And whatever your views, this book will help you understand the political earthquake that is shaking the ground beneath our feet.” —Peter Beinart, author, The Crisis of Zionism

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